Shaun Pinner: former British soldier sentenced to death

Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin were both sentenced to death – a sentence condemned by the British government

Shaun Pinner, along with fellow countryman Aiden Aslin and Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, have been convicted by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic of using force to seize power.

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The British government insisted that the verdict had no legitimacy and the two should be treated as prisoners of war.

In a previous TV appearance, Mr Pinner was shown alongside fellow inmate Mr Aslin, who asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to facilitate an exchange for pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk.

Mr Medvedchuk is currently being held captive by Ukraine, having previously escaped from house arrest.

Former British Army soldier Shaun Pinner has called on Russia to treat him as a prisoner of war after he was captured in the Ukrainian resistance. (Credit: PA)

Around the same time, Ukraine released a video of Mr Medvedchuk making a similar plea for an exchange.

Mr Pinner’s family have now also made their own plea for their loved one to be considered a “prisoner of war”.

Who is Shaun Pinner?

Shaun Pinner is a 48-year-old ex-Royal Anglian soldier originally from Bedfordshire.

Mr Pinner fought alongside the Ukrainian resistance forces in the besieged town of Mairupol before being captured by Russian soldiers.

The former soldier moved to Ukraine four years ago before joining the Ukrainian Navy to pass on the expertise he had acquired in the British Army.

According to Mr Pinner’s family, he was due to complete his three-year contract with the military at the end of 2022 and planned to move to a humanitarian role within Ukraine.

What did Shaun Pinner say on Russian state television?

In a video shown on Russian TV channel Rossyia 24 on Saturday night.

He said: “Hi, I’m Shaun Pinner. I am a British citizen. I was captured in Mariupol. I belong to the 1st Battalion of the Ukrainian Marines, 36th Brigade.

“I fought in Mariupol for five to six weeks and now I’m in the Donetsk People’s Republic.”

Russia has been accused of televising Mr Pinner and fellow inmate Aiden Aslin.

Speaking directly to Boris Johnson, Mr Pinner added: “Mr Boris Johnson. Obviously I’m Shaun Pinner.

“A lot has happened in the last five or six weeks that I’m not fully aware of. Obviously I understand that Mr. Medvedchuk has been arrested and we are trying to swap me and Aiden Aslin for Mr. Medvedchuk.

“Of course, I would greatly appreciate your help in this matter and in pushing this agenda forward. I was treated well myself. I fully understand the situation I’m in. We have been fed, watered and that is all I can really say, but I ask on my behalf and on behalf of Aiden Aslin to help us in exchange for Mr Medvedchuk.”

It is not yet known how freely the former British soldier expressed himself in the videos.

What did Shaun Pinner’s family say?

Mr Pinner’s family have themselves submitted a plea for the detainee to be treated as a prisoner of war as he is a serving Ukrainian soldier.

In a statement released by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) on behalf of Mr Pinner’s family, they go into more detail on how he recognizes Ukraine as “his adopted homeland”.

It said: “Shaun was a distinguished soldier in the British Army who served for many years in the Royal Anglian Regiment. He served on many tours including Northern Ireland and with the United Nations in Bosnia.

“In 2018, Shaun decided to relocate to Ukraine to capitalize on his previous experience and training within the Ukrainian military.

“Shaun enjoyed the Ukrainian way of life and has considered Ukraine his adopted homeland for the last four years. During this time he met his Ukrainian wife, who cares deeply about the country’s humanitarian needs.

“He joined the Ukrainian Marines as a proud member of his unit. We want to clarify that he is not a volunteer or a mercenary, but officially serves in the Ukrainian army according to Ukrainian legislation.”

What was said about Aiden Aslin?

Aiden Aslin was also arrested alongside Mr Pinner.

Mr Aslin is a 28-year-old British-Ukrainian national who fought as part of the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol.

He was also seen making a similar request to Mr Pinner on Russian state television, while he was also filmed walking in handcuffs while surrendering to the Russian army.

His mother Angela Wood told Sky News: “He’s not a mercenary, he’s not a volunteer, he hasn’t gone out in the last month thinking ‘I’m going to fight, I’m going to get glory’.

“He’s been out there for four years and he’s a legitimate Ukrainian marine.”

The UK Foreign Office has confirmed it has been in contact with both Mr Pinner and Mr Aslin’s family to offer support.

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